Skip to main content

Full text of "The manufacture and properties of iron and steel"

See other formats

432                                  THE IRON INDUSTRY.
privilege to agree that they will only handle two shovelfuls of earth per hour, or one shovelful per day. It is their right to refuse to work- for less than five dollars per day or twice that amount. It is' their right to ask their employer to sign a scale and agreement to that effect for one year or ten years, but it is also the right of the employer to ask what guarantee is given that they will stay in his employ, and it is also his inalienable right to tell them that such agreements are not according to his wish and that he will try and get men who will work without them; and if such "organization" should reach the last stage and the "organizers" should demand that no one should work in the shop except those subscribing to the union and paying the salaries of the officers, the only possible answer is that such a rule is contrary to the fundamental tenets on which this government rests.
Certain matters cannot be arbitrated. Thus it is of record that a certain "union" works in America was shut down several times, not on account of any disagreement between employer and employee, but on account of disputes between two rival labor unions. It is quite comprehensible why -under such conditions a manufacturer might conclude to employ only non-union men: His right to do so is as unquestionable as the right of a farmer to employ only colored laborers or to employ only white men, or to employ both. Granting that the manufacturer has concluded to run non-union, it is impossible to submit the matter to arbitration. If his conclusion is unwise, he will suffer most, for if men will not work for him then he will loso money, and if he can get only the scum of the streets then also will he lose; but if he can obtain good men in sufficient numbers, then it is quite certain that the conditions are acceptable to them and to him and that his position is just and equitable.
It is impossible to conceive how a decision to employ only nonunion men can be susceptible to arbitration, and it would seem unnecessary to more than state the theorem were it not that politicians and certain lecturers at Chautauqua are advocating compulsory arbitration. It must always be remembered that no em-.ployer ever entertained a prejudice against a labor union on general grounds alone. The opposition arose from the plain fact that labor unions regularly develop into the most tyrannical and outrageous violators of individual rights. It has happened many times that a hundred union men have left a shop because one non-union man